8 Groups That Capitalism Forgot: Another Angle on the Social Safety Net

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For the historically minded, the political battles of the last few years may have induced an especially vertiginous bout of deja vu. After all, many of the big debates currently roiling our government -- including those over the minimum wage, health care, college tuition and unemployment -- are nothing new. For decades, politicians and pundits have hashed over these topics, arguing over the appropriate breadth and depth of America's social safety net.

On Salon, Paul Buchheit offers an interesting rundown of government policies that hurt children, students, the elderly, wage earners, women, minorities, the sick and disabled, and the homeless -- a collection of constituencies that Buchheit calls "the eight biggest victims of America's predatory capitalism."
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Very succinctly, but with a great deal of solid evidence, he lays out his argument that, over the past few decades, the United States has de-invested from these groups ... with appalling results.

There's a lot of room to disagree with Buchheit. Among other things, his categories have a great deal of overlap, and one could argue that he cherry-picks a great deal of his evidence. On the other hand, it's also hard to ignore America's recent attempts to balance the budget by slashing holes in the social safety net. Buchheit's article is a reminder that governmental "savings" rarely come without a cost -- and that the ones left holding the bill are often the people who have the most to lose.

Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings Editor. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

15 PHOTOS
13 Major Suburbs Where Poverty Is Soaring
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8 Groups That Capitalism Forgot: Another Angle on the Social Safety Net

The number of poor households in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio increased 109% to 97,581 from 2000 to 2011.

The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Dallas increased 111% to 474,023 from 2000 to 2011.

Dallas metro area includes Fort Worth and Arlington. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Charlotte, N.C. increased 113% to 140,760 from 2000 to 2011.

Charlotte metro area also includes Gastonia and Rock Hill. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Detroit, Mich. increased 115% to 453,784 from 2000 to 2011.

Detroit metro area also includes Warren and Livonia. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Minneapolis, Minn. increased 128% to 204,901 from 2000 to 2011.

Minneapolis metro area also includes St. Paul and Bloomington. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Provo, Utah increased 129% to 39,784 from 2000 to 2011.

Provo metro area also includes Orem. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

Photo: Michael.Jolley, Flickr.com

The number of poor households in Boise City, Idaho increased 130% to 62,459 from 2000 to 2011.

The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Phoenix, Ariz. increased 134% to 275,085 from 2000 to 2011.

Phoenix metro area also includes Mesa and Glendale. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Denver, Colo. increased 138% to 163,434 from 2000 to 2011.

Denver metro area also includes Aurora and Broomfield. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Las Vegas increased 139% to 214,883 from 2000 to 2011.

The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Salt Lake City, Utah increased 142% to 115,109 from 2000 to 2011.

The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

The number of poor households in Austin, Texas ballooned 143% to 103,248 from 2000 to 2011.

Austin metro area also includes Round Rock and San Marcos. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

Photo: heatheronhertravels, Flickr.com

Atlanta suburban poverty rose 159% to 780,078 from 2000 to 2011 –– by far the fastest growth in suburban poverty in the nation.

Atlanta metro area also includes Sandy Springs and Marietta. The increase in poverty was tracked by the Brookings Institute in "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."
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